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First black female SCOTUS justice sworn in — Analysis

Ketanji Jackson, a black woman has been elected to the Supreme Court.

Ketanji brown Jackson was officially inducted as Supreme Court Justice, succeeding Stephen Breyer. This makes her the first woman of color to serve on the court.

Jackson thanked her new colleagues for their “A warm, gracious and welcoming welcome,” singling out Breyer, for whom she clerked for a year in 1999, as “For the last two decades, a mentor and friend of mine.” Like Breyer, she is expected to fill out the court’s liberal wing alongside Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

51 year old justice used to be a judge at the US Court of Appeals for DC Circuit. She was first appointed in 2021, after serving nine years as a US District Court Judge for DC. Her previous role was as vice chair of US Sentencing Commission. She is charged with reviewing federal sentence validity. Her private practice was as well as that of a public lawyer. 

While Biden made it clear while searching for a replacement for Justice Breyer that race and gender were key hiring factors in her selection, Jackson insisted when she was being questioned during confirmation hearings for her previous position that she would be “Intentionally and methodically putting aside any personal opinions” and “Any other unsuitable considerations

My opinion is that it would be improper to use race in an evaluation of a particular case,” she said. 

Barack Obama also interviewed Jackson when Jackson tried to replace Antonin Scalia in 2016. Obama chose Merrick Garland to be his nominee, an issue that the Senate rejected controversially. He was then appointed Attorney General by Biden.

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The Harvard Law grad assumes her role in the midst of a tumultuous time for the Supreme Court, which last week repealed federal abortion protections in a ruling that reversed 1973’s Roe v Wade decision. One man was charged with plotting to murder conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh after the ruling was received in protest.

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